Did you play the piano as a kid? It’s one of the most popular instruments to start children on at a young age, but it’s not for everyone. The good news is if piano lessons left a bad taste in your mouth, it doesn’t have to be like that now! Read on as Phoenix piano teacher Renee S. explains.
Gone are the days when “old-school” piano teachers hit their young students hands with a stick to remind the student to curve their wrist over the keyboard. Or are they? Remember playing scales over and over again in agony? Or how about being forced to learn “classic” songs that you had never heard of? Sometimes we still are holding onto bad memories of our teachers or piano lessons of days bygone. We might remember the experience and still wince when we recall it. Some of us vow to never touch the piano again, either consciously or subconsciously, not exploring the reason for the disdain. Some of us feel shame for “failing” at learning to play the piano.
As an adult now, our relationship with playing music doesn’t have to be forever tainted. Here are some tips on how adults can not only rekindle any original love for the piano but also reframe past negative experiences:
1. Search for a new teacher. This teacher should be sensitive to your past experiences and gentle in their teaching approach, and also provide a fresh approach to reading music. For example, if your past lessons consisted of rote scales and staff music, then perhaps your new teacher could teach you 20th century music theory, rhythm, or songwriting.
2. Allow yourself to just have fun with it! Try playing pop or country songs you love to listen to on Pandora or YouTube. Hint: If you are not staying up nights to practice, then you aren’t having enough fun! Although learning songs on the piano takes practice, it shouldn’t be boring! You can also try singing along with your piano playing like a rockstar.
3. Be creative: Songwriting can be a cathartic way to offload any negative feelings still rattling around inside. Start with a journal and write out how you feel. Assemble the words into poetry. Your piano teacher can help you put chords to the poetry, and voila, you have a song which you wrote about your individual experience. You could also interpret a favorite song in your own way by slowing it down, or singing low when the artist normally sings high, etc. Make it your own. Then share your song with a friend.
These steps will go a long way in healing the past and allowing you the freedom to move forward as a musician. So go ahead, search for that fresh new teacher that will help you re-frame your past with the piano, and you will be surprised at how quickly you will recall how to play. After all, the muscle memory is still waiting inside your fingers….
Renee teaches songwriting and piano lessons in Phoenix, AZ. Her specialties include classical and pop styles, songwriting, and chords. Renee joined the TakeLessons team in May 2013. Learn more about Renee, or search for a teacher near you!
Photo by seriousbri